I am getting distortion and slowing down of the existing tracks when trying to overdub guitar through my M-Audio Fast Track into Audacity 2.0 The existing tracks were imported WAV files and show a sampling rate of 44.1kHz according to the track bar. The project rate is also set at 44.1kHz. If I raise the Project sampling rate to 48kHz or even 96kHz, the problem seems to disappear. Any ideas why?
Can I ask another question? The WAV files have imported as stereo even though they are effectively two mono tracks, having been produced in Guitar Pro. All the tracks I now add will be in mono. This means I will have a mix of stereo and mono tracks in the project. Is it best to convert the stereo tracks to mono or the mono tracks to stereo? I want the eventual project to be stereo as I will be panning some instruments around the mix and adding some delay here and there to give some form of suedo stereo effect.
The existing tracks were imported WAV files and show a sampling rate of 44.1kHz according to the track bar.
Audacity does not do “Clip INFO.” You need to do an INFO outside of Audacity to see what you actually have. Audacity does very serious conversions on Import and immediately forgets what the originals were.
Being professionally obsessive, I would convert everything to the final output format and edit that way. You can absolutely mix mono and stereo tracks, but Audacity likes to do things behind the scenes and it’s not obvious until sometimes the final output what happened.
For one example, if you import a mono track and tickle the pan adjustment to the left of the track, you now have a stereo track whether or not it looks that way on the timeline.
Speed changes, stuttering, gaps, holes, gritty sound, and playing off pitch are almost all symptoms of a machine running short of resources. When you overdub, the computer has to play back all your old tracks exactly perfectly correctly and also record the new track with absolute accuracy. This is not trivial. It means the computer can’t be doing anything else during the show to include check for email, optimize the drive, check for updates, maintain Skype and the famous one, check everything for viruses in real time.
Once a machine becomes unstable, anything you change will affect the work. It may get better it may get worse. Just the fact that it’s changing at all means you need to address the problem before you go on.
Then there are hardware problems like a fragmented drive or the drive filling up. Audacity cannot use either one.
Many people’s immediate reaction is to reinstall Audacity. If you decide to do that, please remember Audacity is a little different. You only have to change a preference file to get a factory-fresh Audacity.
You have to make sample rates match everywhere, not only in Audacity but in any control panel that the Fast Track has, and if you are on Windows Vista or 7, in Windows as well. It may be for example that Windows is set to some rate other than 44100 Hz. I would guess if a higher rate works that you don’t have serious computer resources issues.
For Vista and 7, the usual advice is to choose 44100 Hz in Audacity and Fast Track (if needed) but set Windows to “Exclusive mode” and the Audacity “host” in Device Toolbar to Windows DirectSound. This means that you don’t have to change the rate in Windows any more, but you have to choose a rate the Fast Track supports, because Windows is no longer doing any (potentially distortion-creating) resampling if you choose an inappropriate rate.
Am I right in saying that although a normal CD has a 44.1kHz sampling rate, a WAV file that is produced from another application may have a different sampling rate. In the track info bar, how is the sample rate figure generated? Is this the true sampling rate of the imported WAV file?